2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali AWD Test Drive

?2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali AWD: Big, Bold and Powerful?


Let?s face it, not everyone wants or needs a full-size SUV. In fact, there are a lot of people who hate the very existence of such vehicles, but that?s another matter. For those of you who feel the need for a full-size SUV, or simply appreciate and enjoy the versatility and functionality of such a craft. You probably need to look no further than what GMC has to offer in that category. The 2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali AWD reigns at the top of the pecking order, with a full stable of remaining trim levels.

The GMC full-size lineup consists of the premium Yukon Denali and the Yukon XL Denali, offering accommodations for up to nine passengers, with the space and capability to transport their gear. Second-row power fold-and-tumble seats are available and are class exclusive. Each seat unlatches, folds and tumbles out of the way via an easy one-hand operation, facilitating easier access to the third row seating, which is standard for all Yukon models. All GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali models are available in either 2WD (rear) or 4WD (2WD and AWD for Denali. The extended length Yukon XL also comes in a heavy-duty 2500-series model.

Base Yukon models are built on a 116-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 202-inches, enabling up to 108.9 cubic feet of storage space, with the second row seat folded and the third row seat removed. Yukon XL models display similar exterior dimensions to regular models, but provide roughly a 14-inch longer wheelbase along with an added 20-nches in length allowing for 137.4 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, with Yukon XL and Yukon XL Denali offering the segments best cargo capacity behind the first, second and third-row seats.


Yukon and Yukon XL models derive their motive force from a 5.3-liter V-8 featuring GM?s fuel-saving Active Fuel Management technology, while Denali models are powered by a 6.2-liter V-8. Both engines are capable of operating on E85 ethanol and feature efficiency enhancing features such as variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management. The Yukon XL 2500 comes with a 6.0-liter V-8 featuring variable valve timing.

The entire Yukon lineup serves up a comfortable and secure driving experience by delivering responsive steering, a wide track and a low center of gravity. All Yukon models are built to tow. In terms of capability, the Yukon 2500 XL leads the pack with a maximum tow rating of 9,600 pounds. Yukon models can tow up to 8,500 pounds, and the Yukon XL is tow-rated at 8,100 pounds. New for 2013 is powertrain grade braking in the normal transmission mode, which was previously incorporated only when the Tow/Haul mode was activated. The new system utilizes engine torque to aid in slowing the vehicle on grade descents, helping to reduce brake wear.


GMC?s Yukon Denali and Yukon XL Denali are readily distinguishable by their chrome honeycomb grille and monochromatic exterior appointment treatment. An acoustical insulation package is an unseen, but exclusive feature contributing to added quietness. Included in the standard fare for Denali models, are 20-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, power release second-row fold-and-tumble bucket seats, head curtain and side curtain air bags, power-adjustable pedals, electrochromic (auto-dimming) inside mirror, a remote start system, a rearview camera system and ultrasonic rear parking assist.

The interior provides as standard, Nuance perforated leather seating with heated and cooled first-row seats along with heated second-row captain?s seats, and leather trim throughout. A leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel with power tilt adjustment is standard for all Denali models. Optional features offered include: a power sunroof; power-retractable assist steps and a rear-seat, DVD-based entertainment system. An exclusive interior acoustics package enhances interior quietness, while a Bose Centerpoint 10-speaker surround sound system adds audiophile quality sound.


The Denali model?s 6.2L V-8 is rated at 403 horsepower at 5,700 rpm, while delivering 417 pound feet of torque at 4,300 rpm.

My test 2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali came with a White Diamond Tricoat (metallic) exterior finish, complemented by an Ebony toned interior. The base sticker read $61,860 while the final count and amount rose to $65,390 after adding for the Sun and Entertainment Package with: power sunroof,]; third-row DVD screen; an additional 9 months XM radio and NAV Traffic; and rear-seat entertainment system. The paint finish and destination accounted for balance in total cost.

SUMMARY: Should one happen to need or require more than the 2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali AWD has to offer, perhaps a viable alternative would be something on the order of a rock star?s custom diesel-pusher tour bus, and despite the fact the EPA estimates spending an extra $7,400 more in fuel costs over a five year period when compared to an average new vehicle, 13-mpg city and 18-mpg highway is pretty respectable considering this fully loaded 6,419 pound full-size SUV.

The 6.2-liter V-8 provides plenty of oomph, the transmission shifts smoothly, and the ride quality is quite sumptuous and comfy. The handling characteristics, though not on the same level as a luxury sport sedan, are impressive, responsive and confidence inspiring.

Factor in all of the Yukon XL Denali?s safety features, and one?s confidence and level of security rises even higher. Among the features and equipment are: StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, rear park assist, rearview camera system, Side Blind zone alert, four-wheel ABS, front pretensioner seat belts, standard LATCH child seat attachment system, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and standard remote keyless entry system that provides a second function for the red panic button, allowing drivers to locate their vehicle without sounding the panic alarm. OnStar and OnStar?s Remote Link mobile app allows smartphone users to control various vehicle functions.


In the final analysis, the 2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali may well be the ultimate vehicle for large family treks and adventures in the lap of luxury.

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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 GMC Yukon XL Denali AWD [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $61,860.
Price as Tested: $66,385.
Engine Type and Size: : L94 Vortec 6.2-liter OHV, 16-valve Vortec V8 with sequential fuel injection, Active Fuel Management and Flex Fuel capability.
Horsepower (bhp): 403 @ 5,700 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 417 @ 4,300 rpm
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / All-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent, coil over shock; Autoride real-time damping (opt.)
Rear -Multi-leaf springs.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel disc, four-wheel ABS with hydroboost.
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza 275/55 R20 111S M&S mounted on 8-spoke polished aluminum alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 130.0 inches
Length Overall: 222.4 inches
Width: 79.1 inches
Height: 77.1 inches
Curb Weight: 6,419 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 39 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 13-mpg city / 18-mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.

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